Eventually the capsule had to be rolled off the launch pad. When the engineers were unable to repair it on the spot, it had to be taken to Boeing’s factory for complete repair.
Boeing and NASA disagree, according to NASA officials during a recent press conference.
Their investigation indicated that moisture was coming into the valves and causing “corrosion” and “bonding”, Boeing vice president and Starliner project manager Mark Nappy told a news conference last week. This led the company to develop a short-term solution that developed a cleaning system that included a small bag, which was designed to prevent corrosion-causing moisture. NASA and Boeing claim to be comfortable with this solution.
NASA’s Business Team Project Manager Steve Stitch said last week, “We are in a good position to fly that system.
But that is not the end. Boeing revealed last week that it would eventually have to redesign the valves.
“We want to do a little more testing and, based on those results, we’ll make sure what kind of changes we make in the future,” Nabby said. “We’ll find out more in the coming months.”
It is unclear how long it will take or further delay Boeing’s first space flight if progress is made with a comprehensive redesign of Boeing valves, at which point, planning is several years behind schedule. According to public documents, the hangover with Starliner will cost the company half a billion dollars.
Meanwhile, SpaceX, once considered a backward competitor in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, has already launched five space missions and two cruises for NASA. The launch of its vehicle, the Crew Dragon, became the first spacecraft to launch astronauts from American soil into orbit since the space shuttle program retired in 2011.